29 December 2008

"Me to You" teddy bear cake

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
I was asked to make a "Me to You" Teddybear sitting on a cupcake. This had to be a cake so I decided to bake a cake in a fluted pyrex trifle bowl. I used a 9" mix and filled the bowl quite high so I get a nice rounded top.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
For the teddy bear, I baked a 8" cake in a loaf tin.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Loaf tin cake and cupcake shaped cake.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Buttercream mix.
200 gms icing sugar
100 gms unsalted butter
1tsp. vanilla extract.
All at room temperature

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Icing sugar, butter and vanilla all mixed together.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
A third of the loaf tin cake was cut. this third is the head, the rest was the body. The small bit was put aside.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
The large part of the cake was shaped for the neck, shoulder and stomach.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Half an inch slice was taken from the bottom. This was used to make the belly rounder.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
The front bottom part was buttercreamed to attach the slice for the belly.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
The slice was attached

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
The slice shaped to contour the belly.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
The head measured against the body to check for size.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Some of the trimmings were mixed with buttercream and shaped like a muzzle and attached to the bottom of the head to make the muzzle.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Body buttercreamed before sugarpasting.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Grey blue sugarpaste rolled out to cover the body of the teddy bear.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
The body is covered with the sugarpaste. The excess sugarpaste is gathered on each side of the body. This excess is trimmed and neatened.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Body smoothened and sides neatened.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Embroidery scissors were used to nip the sugarpaste to give the fur effect.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Head covered, nipped, ears added and muzzle covered in plain sugarpaste. Legs made out of sugarpaste and nipped. The bottom of the legs left plain.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Arms made using sugar paste and nipped. a bit of blue sugarpaste added to the muzzle. Eyes made out of black sugarpaste. Patches drawn using black liquid colour.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Cake torted, buttercreamed and marzipanned.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
For the cup cake. Pink sugarpaste rolled out.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Pink sugarpaste added to the marzipanned cake.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
White sugarpaste added to the top of the cupcake.

"Me to You" teddy bear cake
Board marbled, Top trimmed using rope extruded from a clay gun. Confetti stars and heart added. Teddy bear placed on top.

12 December 2008

Me to you cupcake cake

Me to you cupcake cake, originally uploaded by a matter of taste.

This is the cake I have to make next week. Well I never attempted a cupcake cake and I have seen a few on the internet. I was not impressed. I would love to get the pleated effect but I do not have a clue where to start. Perhaps some of you might help.

Gingerbread dough

We have got a workshop for children aged between 7 and 10 tomorrow, so we thought it was a good idea to include gingerbread men, women, house and other things as part of the fun. I have tried many recipes but did not like the pastry when I tried to roll it out. I have watched Rachel Allen on UKtv Food making a gingerbread house and liked the way the pastry behaved. So I thought I would try that out. I shall give you the outcome on how it behaved when I post pictures of children making the gingerbread men.

Recipe is taken from Rachel Allen "Bake" http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/610040

300g Butter
125g caster sugar
125g soft brown sugar
225g treacle, or golden syrup
725g plain flour
2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon


Melt the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and treacle in a large saucepan


Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon together

Make a well in the middle of the flour and spice and add the melted butter and sugar mixture.


Stir well until it comes together like sticky dough.


Flatten the dough into a 2cm thick round, put in plastic bag and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

09 December 2008

Train cookies Tutorial

Train cookies tutorial
This was an order placed at 9.00 pm one evening and had to be finished by the next day.
I did not have a train cookie cutter, so I had to start from scratch. I found a good image of a train which I copied and took an outline. I also decided on the colours. I decided afterwards that I would swap the colours for each individual cookie so no one cookie would look the same.
Train cookies tutorial
I was lucky enough to have some strips of aluminium which I had for a while but never dared use. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it is to make a cookie cutter.
This took me about 10 minutes to put together.
Train cookies tutorial
The cookie cutter was quite large so I needed to roll the cookie dough slightly thicker than normal as otherwise the biscuit would snap very easily once baked.
I always use Nigella Lawson's cookie recipe. I have tried many recipes but found that this one keeps nice and crisp and it never loses its shape. I did change the amount of eggs used as the first few tries at making the dough, it turned out quite soggy. I have put the recipe on the British Sugarcraft Guild message board. www.bsguk.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5330&highlight=bi...
Train cookies tutorial
I made royal icing using egg whites. I use a proportion of the weight of an egg to six times this weight of icing sugar. I had 50 cookies to make, so I weighed 6 egg whites and then did six times that in icing sugar.

This is beaten to full peak. Black powder (House of Sugar) is added to a couple of spoonfuls of the icing which is then paddled to get rid of the air bubbles, added just 2 drops of water to make it into piping consistency and put in a piping bag with a no. 2 (PME) nozzle.
I piped round the edges of the wheels and the bottom of the train.
Train cookies tutorial
I continued piping the outline round the engine. It is a good sense to have an idea beforehand of the lines you need to pipe. I usually draw the outline of the cookie cutter on a piece of paper and drraw the piping lines.
Train cookies tutorial
I continued with the piping of the edges and separating the compartment and funnels.
Train cookies tutorial
These are the completed outlines of some of the cookies.
Train cookies tutorial
I put aside about a cupful of full peaked royal icing for inscription and embellishments. I added water a little at a time to the rest of the royal icing and stirred it till I got "double cream" consistency. The icing should not be runny otherwise it will overflow the outline. With practice and experience, you will be able to determine the right consistency to use. One method I was taught, was to make a trail of the icing and if it settles at the count of ten, it is ok to use. I never liked this method because it depends on how quickly one counts to ten.

I divided the batch of run out icing into 4 separate bowls and coloured the batches with green, blue, red and yellow colourings. I also needed black but did not mix it at that time. Black colour is made up of all the other colours so I intended mixing all the left over from all the colours to make black later on.
Train cookies tutorial
I filled up the squeeze bottles with the colours. I tend to pour the icing straight from the bowl. Again practice is needed and I now manage to direct the icing straight into the bottles and not everywhere else.
Train cookies tutorial
The first colour is applied. I did the middle part of the engine first in red then left the icing to dry. I like to see a shine on the icing so I put the cookies on a very low oven at 40 deg C. This helps to dry the the icing and also makes the cookie crisp again if it has softened slightly.
Train cookies tutorial
Once the red is dried (or at least a good skin has formed) I filled the adjacent areas with green, blue and yellow.
Train cookies tutorial
These colours were again left to dry and in the meantime, I used all the left over colours, apart from the yellow, to mix together to get the black. A little bit of black colour was added to make it more intense. I piped the wheels in black.
Train cookies tutorial
With the same run out consistency, I piped the curves round the engine, round the funnel and the front of the engine. I must say, I was being lazy here as I should have used black in piping consistency in a piping bag but this worked out ok even though it could have looked better.
Train cookies tutorial
Here, I outlined the window and flooded the window in yellow. I also piped the wheels in grey piping consistency icing using 1.5 (PME) nozzle. The number 5 is the age of the child and this was piped in yellow and 1.5 (PME) nozzle.
Train cookies tutorial
Once all the cookies were completely dried and cooled, they were bagged in polypropene bags and tied with 3mm ribbon. I have used different coloured ribbon for the cookies.

I must say, I was quite pleased with the outcome and the customer was most amazed that I could produce such cookies at such short notice.

08 December 2008

Christmas market at Nadur

I had the most enjoyable 4 days taking part in the fund raising to improve the appearance of the Nadur square.

We took part in the Nadur Christmas market and decided to have a cakes, cookies and drinks stall. My brother supplied us with gateaux, cakes, doughnuts and muffins. My brother-in-law, with biscuits, honey rings and choc chip cookies. We were also supplied with 2 coffee machines and also decided to prepare some mulled wine. We also baked loads and loads of mince pies and chocolate truffles.

This is the first time we did this so the preparation was horrendous. We wanted to make sure that everything was well organised. But full marks to my collegues and there was nothing that we could have done better.

We worked solid from Friday till Monday but we also had very high spirits. We sang and danced all the time even when serving people. All the husbands (apart from mine) where always there to give a hand and fetch and carry.

The people kept coming and by Sunday at 4.00 pm we ran out of most of the things. People tried our cakes and kept coming for more. They were most disappointed when we told them that we ran out of things.

Well my biggest thanks to the most wonderful ladies who gave up their time just to be there. Also to the husbands (including mine) who were there with us all the time. A big thank you to my Joe (my brother-in-law) who brought the goodies in a freezer van and stayed with us all four days. Thanks also to Worldwide who provided all the gateaux and cakes and also to Elia caterers who provided the biscuits and honey rings. Everything was so delicious and fresh.

Nadur Christmas market draws crowds

18 November 2008

Chocolate wedding cake with chocolate roses cascade

This is one of my favourite cakes. The cake itself was chocolate cake layered with chocolate ganache. The covering was homemade white chocolate cake. All of the flowers are hand made in white chocolate paste. The chocolate paste was also coloured in pink and green to make the pink roses and green leaves.

18 October 2008

Cornelli lace and silver wedding cake

Well this is the first paid wedding cake I have made in the last two years. In Malta wedding cakes come as part of the catering package and it is expensive for the wedding couple to order a cake outside the caterers when one is already provided. Luckily, the caterer in this case had no facilities for making wedding cakes hence I got the order.

The request was for a very simple, plain and elegant cake with ivory and silver. I think they will be happy with the outcome.

Made Explore 27 Sep 2008 #485

28 March 2008

March Daring Bakers' Challenge - Perfect Party Cake

Now cakes are my forte! I love making them and I also like experimenting with new techniques and ingredients. That is why I loved it when this challenge was chosen. I was disappointed though that some mistakes were found by other daring bakers as by then I already tried the cake and failed miserably.

It did not matter. I had my niece over and decided to make it with her. We followed the recipe exactly for the cake batter. I did feel that the amounts were not in proportion but carried on. Once the mixing was complete, I could not believe that the mix had to be divided over two 9" sandwich tins. Surely there was not enough. Still following the recipe, we put the mix in the oven and once cooked, it hardly rose but just enough to feel the texture. We did not make the frosting as we were quite eager to taste the cake and see whether it was worth carrying with a new batch. The cake was delicious and off course it was demolished by my family on the same day.

Well I tried the recipe again this time taking into consideration the alterations in the recipe. After I finished making the batter, I still consider that there is not enough for 2 sandwich tins. I wondered whether I should have double the recipe but that could be detrimental to the rising of the cake. The cake did rise but very little. I still torted the cake and filled it with home-made strawberry jam (jelly). I did think about doubling the recipe but wondered whether it would be too heavy and would not rise.

I can see flaws in the recipe. The proportion of butter to the sugar does not feel right. I thought it was most unusual to add and whisk the milk with the egg whites. Normally, I whisk the eggwhites to full peak and add this to the batter last minute. This gives the batter some air but adding the milk (or buttermilk in my case) to the eggwhites in the beginning would spoil any chance of putting air into the batter.

The frosting though was out of this world. A bit of a chore, but still very much worth making. It spread beautifully and also piped really really well. It is one recipe that I shall keep and use again despite using 12 oz of butter is a bit too expensive in my country.

I did like the finished product with the strawberries decoration and scrolls. All said, I did enjoy making the cake just because I love making cakes.

I tested it on my relatives who came round to dinner and their verdict was that it is too heavy for a sponge. They enjoyed the taste though.
March db challenge

March db challenge

March db challenge
March db challenge

March db challenge


March db challenge
click to add titlea slice of cake

Recipe for Perfect Party Cake:
For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour (updated 25 March)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves.
Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.
Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

This month's challenge was hosted by Marven